Paul’s Presentation Prizes

Congratulations to Paul for winning prizes at both the recent UoB Chemistry Organic & Biological Research Symposium, and at the Chemistry and Biology of Natural Products conference in Warwick. Paul presented his work with clarity and enthusiasm, and his talks thoroughly deserve the praise they have received.

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Sbu joins from Chemical Synthesis CDT

SbuAfter completing the PACT period of the Bristol Chemical Synthesis CDT, Sbu Mbatha has now joined the Willis group for the remainder of her PhD studies. Sbu graduated from the University of Leeds with an MChem in Medicinal Chemistry, undertaking her final year research project under the supervision of Dr Richard Foster. She is investigating the biosynthetic pathway to abyssomicin C and related compounds under the supervision of Profs. Chris Willis, Matt Crump and Dr Paul Race.


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Chris receives award for service to the RSC

Chris’ wider work within the chemistry community has been recognised today with an Award for Service from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The citation reads: Awarded for her outstanding service on numerous Royal Society of Chemistry committees over more than 25 years. Chris has served the Royal Society of Chemistry in many capacities, beginning as secretary to the young Bio-organic Subject Group, and has served on numerous Royal Society of Chemistry committees, including the Perkin Council. She chaired and oversaw allocation of research fund grants for two years, and served on the joint RSC/EPSRC committee on the future of chemistry. She has recently completed three years as chair of the Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group, overseeing the organization of two highly successful “Lakeland Conferences”. She is currently an elected member of Organic Division Council.”


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New Signing for Team Kalimantacin


With the summer transfer window now open, Team Kalimantacin are pleased to announce their new signing, Jon Davies, 25, from Pleuromutilin CC for an undisclosed fee. The Welsh international has signed a one year contract.


Manager Paul Walker was very pleased with the new addition. “Jon’s profile is a perfect fit for us – he’s youngish, ambitious-ish and a proven-ish synthesiser. He has an excellent molecule-making pedigree, and was keen to make this move. Jon has been clear that he’s using this move as a chance to put himself in the shop window for 2019.”


We look forward to seeing what Team Kalimantacin can achieve with their new signing. Ball Boy Angus Weir was keen to point out how much they’d stretched the budget to make such a big-money signing, exclaiming “We’re simply all out of digestives now!”.


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Willis group attend International Kalimantacin Meeting


Chris, Paul, Angus and Matt Crump recently travelled to Belgium for a meeting with our collaborators on the Kalimantacin project. This was a highly fruitful meeting, and that’s not just the beers!

Belgium 2

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Kate, Claudio and David publish in Chemical Science

The latest publication from the Willis group is now out, entitled “The cycloaspeptides: uncovering a new model for methylated nonribosomal peptide biosynthesis“.Cycloaspeptides GA

In this work, the biosynthetic gene cluster responsible for the bioactive cycloaspeptide family was found to include a new type of trans-acting N-methyltransferase (N-MeT). Deletion of the N-MeT encoding gene and subsequent feeding studies determined that two modules of the NRPS preferentially accept and incorporate N-methylated amino acids. This discovery allowed the development of a system with unprecedented control over substrate supply and thus output, both increasing yields of specific metabolites and allowing the production of novel fluorinated analogues.

Congratulations to Kate, Claudio, David and all of our collaborators involved in this fascinating project.

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Congratulations Dan!

Big congratulations to Daniel O’Flynn, after his PhD viva this week. Dan has already started working as a Medicinal Chemist at Sygnature Discovery, joining the sizeable ex-Willis group contingent there – clearly we’re doing something right!Dan Viva


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